As I was with Sarabeth's "Chocolate Chubbies" that I posted here some time ago, I am grateful for the quirky name that Flour Bakery adopted for these cookies. Having the word chunky in the name helps me to keep my intake of these dandies in-check as it is a constant reminder of the risks inherent in letting yourself go with a tin full of these on the counter. Enough said.
A brookie....what the hell is a "brookie", I can hear you asking?
Well, in my parlance, a brookie is a cookie with the texture of a brownie.
I decided to whip these up the other day because I needed a BUNCH of cookies in a hurry for an event I was hosting at my home. Rather than cook up multiple batches of much larger cookies, I decided to pull out my #70 portion scoop (about 1/2 ounce, 1 tablespoon) and cranked out about 4 dozen of these gorgeous little "brookies" in no time.
Ever go to a top-notch bakery and buy a huge, delicious chocolate chip cookie and wish that you could make one just like it at home?
Well now you can.
These behemoths, from the famed Tartine Bakery in San Francisco are the ultimate bakery case cookie. Fully 3" wide, they are packed with chewy-earthy oats, crunchy walnuts and decadently rich bittersweet chocolate. The addition of molasses gives them a depth of flavor that brown sugar alone can't quite match, and their generous size will satisfy even the biggest sweet tooth at your table.
Fresh home from college, my oldest son and I enjoyed these awesome baked potatoes the other night when sitting down to a nice home-cooked steak dinner. It was my first foray into cooking steaks sous-vide, and while I'm sure to dedicate a post to that cool experience soon, I'll just tell you now that they were simply amazing!
I feel like I'm on the verge of another "chef crush".
First there was Thomas Keller, the super talented and famous chef behind "The French Laundry", "Per Se", "Bouchon Bakery" and "Ad Hoc". Over the years I've cooked and shared a number of his recipes here, and each has been the perfect expression of what the dish should be. From quiches, to brownies, to fried chicken, a Keller recipe never disappoints.
So who is the subject of my new "chef crush" you ask?
I came up with this cake the other day as a means of using up some nuts and yogurt I had laying about, and to have a little something special on-hand for our "morning after prom" gang. It turns out that the cake never survived the prom after party to be enjoyed as an accompaniment to morning coffee....oh well.
Please don't click past this recipe because of it's less than appealing name....you'll be VERY sorry if you do, I can promise you that. These delightful little nuggets are from the Bantam Bread Bakery in Bantam, CT and come to us courtesy of the R.S.V.P. feature in the May 2014 issue of Bon Appetit magazine. R.S.V.P is where reader's write in to request that the magazine ferret out the recipes from their favorite restaurant meals.
I know what you're thinking. Wouldn't it be lovely if all we had to do to rid the world of conflict and bring peace was to bake a few batches of top-notch cookies.
Israel and Palestine.....fixed.
Russia and Ukraine.....done.
Syria's civil war.........a thing of the past.
Lannisters v. Tyrells........just make sure there's enough cold milk to go around (it turns out drinking wine in Westeros can prove fatal....poor Joffrey).
It seems silly to ponder a world where a single sweet confection could turn the tides of conflict and put us on a path to world peace, but if any treat could, then it would surely be these masterful cookies.
I first "met" Ina Garten while living in Paris, and while I've bumped into her a few other times over the years at various food events, it is the memory of that first encounter that really sticks with me. I had popped into our neighborhood florist to pick up some fresh flowers to bring home, only to find the place swarming with Ina's advance team, setting up lighting and cameras, and getting the place looking "just so".
Apparently she was in-town to film an episode of her "Barefoot Contessa" show that was all about her favorite places to shop in Paris (hey, someone's got to do it), and this little jewel of a flower shop on Rue Oudinot was on her hit-list. It took me a while to figure out what all the fuss was about because quite frankly, I hadn't a clue who Ina Garten was back then. I heard the word contessa being murmured by some of the staff, so claimed a spot in the corner of the shop from which to catch a glimpse of whatever royal figure was approaching from down the street.
A few moments later cameras starting rolling and in walked Ina with the force of a hurricane, handlers in-tow and dressed in her trademark blue (jammies looking) pant suit. To be honest, not knowing who she was, my first thought was that someone needed to tell this poor woman that it's not OK to be seen in public in THIS city in your pajamas......this was Paris after all. When she started speaking and I realized that she wasn't French royalty but rather an American, I really started to get anxious. "OMG, they are going to eat this poor woman alive....someone has to tell her to go back to her hotel and put on some real clothes!"
My anxiety over her wardrobe choice was short-lived because within seconds of her arrival not just the staff of the shop, but many of the clientele were fawning all over her, posing for photos and asking for her autograph.
I was gobsmacked.
In a city where it was de rigueur to dress for a night on the town just to drag your trash to the curb on collection day, how could it be that these locals were falling all over themselves for a moment with this American diva traipsing around Paris in her PAJAMAS?
Being a TV celebrity has its perks I guess, and trolling around Paris in your PJs looked to be one of them.
Garten has made a lovely career out of teaching people how to entertain with ease. Her cookbooks like this one, Barefoot Contessa at Home and her Food Network cooking shows, are all about flower arranging, table setting, and cooking to please a crowd. Her recipes showcase fresh ingredients, fairly simple preparation, and are chosen for their ability to be prepped (and sometimes cooked) before guests arrive, and require a minimal amount of attention and fuss to finalize and get on the table. I've cooked many of her dishes over the years all to rave reviews, but this one has to be one of my favorites. Both the fish and vegetables can be prepped in advance of guests arriving, then popped in the oven to cook (largely unchecked) while you all mingle and enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail or three. Check out the video below to watch Ina creating this dish and see for yourself how very simple it is to make.
I may be compensated for views and/or clicks on video advertisements in this post.
The prosciutto protects the cod (or halibut or bass) from the extreme heat of the oven, rendering it perfectly moist and flaky, and enhances it's ocean-brine saltiness. In contrast, the roasted root vegetables caramelize beautifully and offer a nice sweet counter-point to the slightly salty surf and turf combo of the cod and prosciutto. Any root vegetables will do here, use whatever you have laying about. I had some sweet potato, white potato, carrots, and parsnips, and they made for a deliciously colorful bed on which to serve the fish. A last minute drizzle of browned butter - rosemary - lemon sauce brings it all together with a certain je ne sais quoi.
Cook in your pajamas if you want....I'll never tell.
Cheers - Steve
Prosciutto Wrapped Fish with Roasted Root Vegetables
2 cups peeled, seeded and 1/2" diced butternut squash
2 cups peeled, and 1/2" diced yukon gold potatoes
2 cups peeled, and 1/2" diced parsnips
2 cups peeled, and 1/2" diced carrots
good olive oil
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
6 (8 ounce) skinless fish fillets (sea bass, cod, halibut)
6-12 slices prosciutto
1 stick unsalted butter
6 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
lemon wedges for serving
Heat the oven to 400 ℉.
To prepare the vegetables, place all the diced veggies in a large mixing bowl, drizzle with 1/3 cup of olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Toss to coat, then pour onto a large, rimmed sheet pan and spread into an even layer. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring once about halfway through cooking. After 30 minutes, toss with the garlic and roast another 10 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender and starting to brown.
Meanwhile, line another sheet pan with foil and place a baking rack on top of the foil. Brush the fish fillets with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Wrap each piece with 1-2 slices of prosciutto (depending on how large the fillets are, and how wide the slices of prosciutto are...you want the fish well wrapped in the ham). Arrange the fillets on the rack with the seam side down and roast for 10-15 minutes, until just cooked through.
While the vegetables and fish are roasting, melt the butter over medium heat in a medium sized saute pan. Add the rosemary sprigs (finely mince one of them if you wish) and cook over low heat until the butter begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Discard the rosemary sprigs, stir in the lemon juice and set aside.
To serve, spoon the vegetables onto each of 6 plates, top with a piece of fish, and spoon lemon-rosemary butter over the top of each fillet. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve.
I have always loved oatmeal raisin cookies, they are among my favorite treats. I had making a batch in-mind when I picked up a monster container of Quaker Oats the other day, but before I could get them mixed up and in my oven I stumbled across this recipe for oatmeal date cookies. Given that I had a container of Medjool dates in my pantry I decided to make these instead, and I'm so glad I did because they really are a very different cookie, and they are super tasty.
"Oui, Chef" exists as an extension of my efforts to teach my kids a few things about cooking, and how their food choices over time effect not only their own health, but that of our local food communities and our planet at large. By sharing some of our cooking experiences, I hope to inspire other families to start spending more time together in the kitchen, passing on established familial food traditions, and starting some new ones. Read more...